Geneva, Switzerland, April 23, 2021 – The latest elite talent to emerge from the Whitaker show jumping dynasty, 19-year-old Jack explains his excitement to be competing at his first Rolex Grand Slam Major in ‘s-Hertogenbosch; what he’d love to achieve in 2021; and the form he and his horses are in after spending winter in Europe.
What are your plans for 2021 and what would you like to achieve?
I’m just planning to go to as many of the big shows as I can. FEI Nations Cups will be a focus for me, and I’ll just try to do as well as possible. If I’m lucky enough to be invited to some more Rolex Grand Slam Majors then that would of course be absolutely fantastic.
You’ve spent winter in Belgium, Spain and Portugal – do you feel your horses are in good shape coming to The Dutch Masters?
Absolutely – they’re all in very good shape at the moment. I managed to keep them fairly fit during the Covid-19 pandemic, which meant they and I had a lot of time off. It’s obviously a challenge spending all winter competing outdoors in Spain and Portugal, and now having to adapt to an indoor show, but I feel like I’m in the best possible shape.
How excited are you to be competing in your first Rolex Grand Slam Major? Any nerves?
I’m very, very excited, and I was extremely happy when I got the news from the organisers of The Dutch Masters! Having competed with Haya Loma N in the show’s first class earlier on today, I’m not feeling so many nerves now, although I think that could change on Sunday ahead of the Rolex Grand Prix. I’m planning to compete with my 12-year-old stallion, Valmy De La Lande, who’s been my standout horse over the last six months, and the one I’ve been jumping all of my Grands Prix with. Fingers crossed he’s on the ball on Sunday!
Does the Rolex Grand Slam give you added incentive to be at the very top of your game?
Definitely, although I’ll try to treat it like any other Grand Prix. At the same time, though, there’s a lot more prestige attached to this one, as it’s a Rolex Grand Slam Major, so I’ll try to be at the top of my game. When I canter into the arena on Sunday knowing that it’s a Rolex Grand Prix, it will feel pretty special, and I’m sure I’ll want to win it just as much as the rest of them, if not a little bit more.
What have you learnt over the course of the last year (about yourself and generally), and what positives will you take?
I’ve learnt how important it is to just stay positive, to remain confident, and to maintain a winning mentality through all of the ups and downs. It’s ultimately all about trying to keep as level-headed as possible.
Source: Press Release from The Dutch Master / Rolex Grand Slam
Photo: © The Dutch Masters / Remco Veurink